A BRITISH councillor has called the gota fría catastrophe ‘a humanitarian crisis’ largely ignored from international media.
Darren Parmenter, British San Fulgencio Councillor for International Relations, said: “I was on the front line watching people cry over food parcels they’ve never asked for in their lives.
“It could’ve been Africa, South America or the Caribbean – but this was Spain.”
Parmenter described the ‘horrendous images’ from his municipality where 150 people were evacuated as record-breaking rain battered the Costa Blanca between September 11-14.
Across the Vega Baja, nearly 4,000 fled for their lives as the worst storm for 140 years dumped 425.4 l/m² on the city of Orihuela, causing the Segura river to burst its banks.
Seven lost their lives as more than 1,000 military personnel were drafted in to rescue survivors from top floors and inside flooded tunnels.
And behind token headlines, Parmenter described a hidden ‘humanitarian effort’ that has seen locals and expats risking their lives to deliver vital aid, clothes and supplies to those in dire need.
“Within two hours of a Facebook post we had 11 trolleys of food. Since then, whatever we’ve asked for, people have supplied,” Parmenter said.
“It’s been very humbling and emotional to be a part of.”
Similar scenes were witnessed in the coastal town of Los Alcázares, where British member of the PSOE executive committee Jo Scott described a ‘humanitarian disaster on a biblical scale’.
Indeed, despite an international blackout, solidarity has been strong in the region.
One Spanish woman in her 20s told the Olive Press how she and a group of friends banded together to drive down from Alicante city and spend the day ‘mucking out houses’ in Benejúzar.
“It was back-breaking work, but it’s at times like this you forget yourself and do what you can to help,” she told the Olive Press.
We also spoke with Marilyn Coates (68) from Sucina and Debbie Brockbank (56) from Murcia who were helping to divide clothes into sizes and styles.
“We were very lucky, so I thought we’d come along and do my bit”, admitted Marilyn.
In addition, we spoke to Donna Walsh (51) of Murcia, who set up a gofundme page for flood victims, raising over €14,000 in only 10 days.
Donna, originally from Manchester, admitted, “Volunteers in the thick of it just didn’t have the time, so I stepped up and started the fund with an initial target of €1,000, but we smashed that in two hours.
If you’d like to contribute towards flood relief for victims, the gofundme page is clickable here